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Moscow green-lights Russian-British Film Festival in Sochi

RUSSIAN cultural and health chiefs have given clearance for the Sochi International Film Festival and Awards (SIFFA) to stage its 5th year anniversary event in the Black Sea resort of Sochi from 3 – 7 November.

SIFFA founder and president, Luba Balagova, flew on a mission to Moscow and Sochi for top-level talks three weeks ago, in light of public health measures taken across Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Having completed her mandatory 14-days quarantine on her return to Britain, Mrs Balagova confirmed publicly today (2 October 2020) that the curtains will be raised for a glittering week of cinematic celebrations with all the traditional film festival razzmatazz and a new musical element including a 40-piece concert orchestra, a dance troupe and popular singers.

“We are deeply grateful to all those in authority who have made the staging of SIFFA’s 5th year anniversary festival possible, conscious as we all are of our responsibilities in the pandemic – from the bottom of my heart I thank the Ministry of Culture, Sochi’s Mayor, and our fantastic sponsoring partners Radisson, for backing SIFFA this year, and we promise an exciting array of great artistic achievement, to make this our biggest and best Sochi festival yet,” said Russian-born, British-naturalised Mrs Balagova.

“It is a great honor for Sochi to host the Sochi International Film Festival and SIFFA Film Awards for the fifth time! We are very glad that good traditions are not violated, no matter what, and this significant cultural event will again take place in Sochi. The film festival develops and also develops tourism in our city. It is gratifying that these events are able to become attractive and accessible for tourists. This year, with the support of the Iris Culture Foundation, a music festival will also take place, which will show all the diversity of the cultures of our country and, in particular, the region. For Sochi, this is very symbolic, because over 100 nationalities and ethnic groups live in the city. I am sure that the VIII Sochi International Film Festival and Film Awards SIFFA 2020 and the Irida Music Festival will be held at the highest level, will delight their fans with a rich cultural program and give them a lot of positive unforgettable emotions!” said Mayor of Sochi Alexei Kopaygorodsky.

The Opening Ceremony fanfare at Sochi’s premier arts venue, the landmark 1000-seat Zimnii (Winter) Palace theatre, launches festivities on 3 November. SIFFA 2020’s distinguished Jury of 6 men and 7 women drawn from Russia, America, Europe and the Middle East, will be presented, followed by a fashion catwalk display revealing the 7 golden ‘Irida’ statuettes awarded to the winners.

SIFFA 2020 showcases 40 short-listed movies competing in 3 categories – features, shorts and documentaries – and 7 out-of-competition special selections. The two principal screening venues will be the Zimnii theatre and the Radisson Paradise Resort, on Sochi’s stylish seafront promenade.

The red carpet Gala Awards Night marks the festival’s climax on 7 November, at Sochi’s most opulent 5-Star hotel, the Radisson Paradise Resort, with a galaxy of stars and leading figures in the Russian Arts scene. The city’s Mayor and the Director of Mosfilm, Russia’s film governing body, will address guests in beautiful Sochi, ‘Pearl of the Russian Riviera’, and the ‘Cannes of the Caucasus’.

Notes To Editors

  1. For further information see SIFFA website at
  2. Direct inquiries to John Hellings, SIFFA International Media Director in London, UK, Tel: +44 (0)7913 819784 or and Victoria Antimenko, Media Manager, SIFFA Russia, in Moscow, Tel: +7 916 720 31 66.
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